clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Talking Tactics: Analysis on just how easily Everton picked apart SAFC at the weekend

Everton barely got out of first gear against Sunderland at the weekend as they cantered to a 2-0 win at Goodison Park. Today, Talking Tactics looks at how they were allowed to do it with consummate ease.

Dan Abbott | Roker Report

It is quite simple though - Everton are good team, and Sunderland are not.

The gulf in quality between the two sides was mainly evident in the midfield, as Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gueye and Tom Davies made light work of their opposite numbers. Everton dominated possession with just over 63% and it was largely down to the performances of their midfield trio. Their excellent work rate is best emphasised in by the fact that despite having most of the ball, they still managed to make more tackles than Seb Larsson, Darron Gibson and Didier Ndong, a combined 9 to Sunderland's 7.

They rarely wasted possession either, with Gueye's pass completion being the 'worst' at an impressive 85%, while the best a midfielder in red and white could muster was Gibson's 75%.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

If Sunderland were being bossed in the middle, they could have at least done more to curb Everton's wide threat.

We've known for ages that there is little-to-no width in this Sunderland team and even though Moyes ditched the 3-5-1-1 of recent weeks to give his team reinforcement out wide, it didn't help at all. With Adnan Januzaj and Fabio Borini very much playing as narrow wingers, looking to cut inside, it gave Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman ample opportunity to exploit the space on the overlap.

This in turn gave Ross Barkley and Ademolah Lookman the chance to dart into the box and, given the fact that Sunderland were only operating with two centre halves rather than the three like we had done in past three games, it led to them becoming overwhelmed in the final third. A quick glance at Everton's first goal, where Coleman is given acres of space to cross and Gueye receives the ball after easily evading the capture of Darron Gibson, shows just how easily The Toffees steamrolled The Lads.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

This isn't to say that Everton weren't without their faults, though. Due to the numbers they were committing forward, they presented Sunderland with plenty of chances to hit them on the counter.

The home side remained unpunished, however, as The Black Cats struggled to even move the ball out of their own half - Sebastian Larsson and Didier Ndong looked incapable of picking out a team mate, while Fabio Borini offered nothing in terms of movement. A pretty lethal combination.

In fairness Adnan Januzaj was a decent outlet in the first half, bringing the ball forward well and drawing fouls out of Leighton Baines, but Everton soon tightened things up in the second half and they made sure that Januzaj was just as cut off as Jermain Defoe was. They probably thought about doing the same with Fabio Borini but forgot that he even existed, such was his anonymity.

At least Sunderland were given something that they could learn from - a lesson in how to counter-attack. Or rather, Romelu Lukaku showed them how to do it.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Not long after Jermain Defoe almost put us level by rattling the crossbar, Lukaku put the game to bed. Watching the Belgian powerhouse run alongside his former teammate, Bryan Oviedo, was like watching him run alongside a puppy. Oviedo probably should have attempted to foul Lukaku before he got anywhere near the penalty area, but I honestly don't think he could have, no matter how hard he tried.

Just to further compound Oviedo's misery, Lukaku sent the ball in via a deflection off the Costa Rican and past the returning Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland goal.

If this is how Sunderland are going to perform against decent teams, then playing our next fixture against a side who scored five in a Champions League game a few days ago is just what we need. Then again, we almost got a result against that very same team earlier this season with John O'Shea playing central midfield, so it's fairly pointless attempting to predict just what might happen.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report